Sunday, November 6, 2022

Lotto Madness Has Again Been Unleashed!

Again many Americans are being inflicted with "lotto madness." The US Powerball jackpot is now a world-record $1.9 billion after there was no winning ticket for Saturday's prize. The previous world-record jackpot was set in 2016, was $1.59bn, and split between three winners. 
For many people a Powerball ticket is a cheap trip down fantasy lane for the poor it is throwing away money they can't afford. The odds of winning the jackpot in Monday's draw stand at one in 292.2 million, according to Powerball. Tickets cost $2, and a winner can choose a lesser lump sum payment or choose to receive the full amount in an annuity paid over 29 years, most winners opt for the upfront cash option. A ticket must match all six numbers drawn to win the jackpot and if more than one winner has the same combination of numbers they share the jackpot.
The failure of anyone to win America's premier and largest lottery ever has caused the Powerball jackpot to soar creating a phenomenon that could be called "Lotto Madness." The fact this has spread like a fire and swept across America reveals something very significant about our culture. While this might not reach the level of needing a post-event "debriefing" a closer look at how these large lotteries affect our culture may be important and meaningful. 
How people react to the idea of winning a large sum of money exposes more than a few flaws and insight into our values and the way we think. It seems that society has reached the place where it thinks the road to riches is not through the valley of hard work and savings and that wealth can be achieved without sacrifice.

Family Guy Wins The Lottery!
When we have a large jackpot, lotto madness has a way of extending into the media and even influencing television shows like the animated comedy "Family Guy." During one of the big payouts years ago, an episode had the Griffin family living on a strict budget until a local news story on the lottery influences Peter to buy a ticket in hopes that he will win and set the family on a better financial platform. Peter reveals to his family that he has not bought just one, but several thousand lottery tickets, admitting that he has taken out a second mortgage on the house in order to buy them. After watching the results of the lottery that night, they discover that they have indeed won, they have obtained the American dream.

Articles occasionally appear that reveal and compare incomes and salaries across the nation. Such articles show, an athlete making $15,900,000 a year, next to a government employee making $130,000, a CEO at $120,000,000 a year, and a business owner earning $24,000. This should give us pause. No wonder we as a society are screwed up as to how we value and relate to money. It reflects on not only our values but the fairness and income inequality. I feel it is hard to measure the discontent generated by such fluff pieces and irresponsible articles like these that are often inaccurate or fail to tell the full story.

It is clear that many people feel the trade-offs we face by living in a free market-consumer-based society and it wears away at them. The fact is economic growth is accompanied by  “wheel spinning”, inefficiencies and waste.  While the benefits of our system often outweigh the negatives we find society is paying a toll through increased rates of addiction, depression, and economic inequality.  On the emotional side, many people are not achieving the degree of happiness or contentment they had hoped for, instead, they are left feeling insecure and unfulfilled. This all contributes to the phenomena of people going  completely bonkers and off the deep end at the prospect of winning a great deal of money even if the odds are massively against them doing so.

Government-sanctioned gambling and especially lotteries send a message to the populace that conflicts with many important cultural values and can have far-reaching effects. These messages promote a "let it roll" mentality.  Simply allowing such activities and promoting them are two different issues.  The government has climbed into bed with the devil to gain revenue from taxing these activities.  Gaming does not benefit the average man.  Truth is the laws of nature and the odds are against you, that’s why they call it gambling and not winning. It might be interesting to place more focus on how many people suffer post-lotto depression when they are unlucky enough not to win.

Huge sums of money from lotteries are unmanageable by the average man and often cause adjustment difficulties, resulting in pain and not happiness. Large jackpots also result in a disconnect between true and associated values causing unrealistic expectations.  Thoughts that jackpots above one hundred million dollars can be ours create a false impression of reality that is harmful in cultivating positive work ethics and makes a mockery of those who toil to produce a better life. In the past, some winners have used the line "be careful what you wish for" after having their life turned upside-down and disrupted by good fortune. The infamous Jack Whitaker is often quoted as saying he wished he had torn up his ticket after he was afflicted numerous times by the "lottery curse."
Robert Ringer, wrote a book titled "Looking Out For #1." In it, he wrote, "I've never met a billionaire, but I have had the opportunity to know many people in the $5 million to $100 million range, and there's one thing that stands out in my mind about all of them; not only do they refrain from tossing money around loosely, they're even careful about the way they speak of it. There's even respect in their voices at the mention of even $10."
You must adjust for inflation but successful hard-working people have a respect for money that many people have failed to acquire. A tenant who sometimes fails to pay his rent on time, but has had to borrow a few dollars on occasion recently told me he is working on a couple of things and is going to be a "billionaire", to my surprise he totally skipped over the millionaire stage of the process. Prediction! The pawnshops will be crazy busy going into the next drawing because a slew of losers produced last week are all tapped out. If they can get any money at all many of these people will double down.

Our modern consumer-based society has made us slaves to material objects and producers of waste.  Many economists urge us to consume, even when we must borrow to do so, saying it creates ever more jobs. We follow Governments and leaders that we often neither like nor trust.  Today’s youth grow up besieged by marketers and are then vilified for being materialistic, marred by too little perspective, it is little wonder so many find themselves angry and disappointed. During times of massive well-publicized jackpots, people use money that was intended to pay rent and even the food stamp money given to them by taxpayers to buy tickets. Bottom-line this is indeed madness.

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